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tv   [untitled]    October 26, 2011 7:30pm-8:00pm PDT

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♪ >> i am mellisa griffin, a columnist and member of the san francisco league of women voters. i am here is city hall with the league and sfgtv to discuss prop h that will be on this year's november ballot. ♪ >> prop h would make it official
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city policy to encourage the san francisco unified school district to establish certain priorities for assigning students to specific schools. currently, parents may apply for their children to attend any school in the school district. if a school does not have space for all applicants, the school district and immense students based on certain priorities, such as whether they're older siblings attend the same school, whether the student lives in the schools attendance area, or whether the students elementary school is a designated feeder school for the middle school. prop h when they get city policy to encourage the school district to ensure that all students have the opportunity to attend a quality neighborhood school. after signing siblings to the same school, the highest priority should be to assign each student to the schools close to their homes. finally, the school district should provide students with the opportunity to attend schools with language immersion rather
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special programs, even if those schools are not close to their homes. ♪ i am here with kris miller, chairperson of students first, a group that sponsored prop h. ms. miller, thank you for being here. why should voters vote for prop h? >> for starters, the reason that prop h was adopted to begin with is roughly 14,000 signatures from san francisco county voters that also, as i do, feel passionately about children being able to attend schools near their neighborhoods. it makes sense. everyone automatically assumes that the child attends a school near their neighborhood or has that option in san francisco. as we know, from previous policies in different things with in government here, san francisco is special. san francisco is definitely special in this respect, that we have not followed suit with many of the major metropolitan cities
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and allow parents the right to automatically opt into their neighborhood schools. san francisco has been having issues with this policy for years. there are thousands of parents who have left the city, over 5000 since the 2000 census. since the mid-1960s, we have lost a little under half of our student population. this is one of the major reasons why. prop h is basically simply proposing that parents or children within certain neighborhood school areas are given the option of sending their children to the school in closest proximity to their home. that is all we are proposing, nothing more. just that within the current citywide lottery system, that parents are given the option of sending their children to school near their home, as opposed to being bussed across town, where were the district decides the children will go. that is basically the premise of prop h.
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>> opponents have argued that the current school assignment system does give substantial weight to a child's geographic location when deciding -- one assigning the to a school. how do you respond? it's very simply, one, that comment is not factually based. roughly 30% of parents in the city, according to the school district -- we're not sure if these are accurate numbers, a roughly 30% of the parents in the san francisco unified school district are opting to send their children to their neighborhood schools. for some reason, they're not able to honor that. a seemingly small number of parents. the fourth consideration -- out of four considerations for the placement system, never the proximity is the fourth. in most cases, within many different school districts, it does not come into consideration because the schools are full of
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the time to get to that proximity consideration. not only that, but that is only for elementary school placement. in middle school and high school, this consideration has been completely taken away. there's absolutely no consideration whatsoever. it is a citywide lottery system period. so that statement is not true. i just gave you the facts. if you want to look it up on iran, it is right on the website -- if you want to look it up on your own. >> it is argued that keeping children in their neighborhoods will lead to gentrification in san francisco. how do you respond? >> i will tell you what it will actually lead to from the actual perspective, not from a hypothetical perspective that is not based on this a big numbers. if you look at the statistics, from the current policies, they do not focus heavily on a neighborhood school-based placement system. in the last 10 years, we have moved further and further
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towards segregation within our school district. the interesting thing is, the current system does not focus heavily on neighborhood school proximity, and the reason for that is to keep the school ever spent to give children more opportunity in areas and better performing schools that would not otherwise have the opportunity to go to a higher performing schools. right now, we actually have a huge issue with schools re segregating in the last 10 years. if the current policies are re segregating the schools in san francisco, one would assume that parents and voters in the city would vote to change that policy. if we are asking for the opposite of what they are, presumably we are going to be either improving the situation, are in the worst-case scenario it will stay the same. so that allegation makes no sense from a fact-based perspective. >> thank you so much, ms. miller. next, we will hear from an opponent of prop h. ♪
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i am now with rachel from the san francisco board of education. the board of education recently voted unanimously to oppose prop h. thank you for being here. why do you oppose prop h? >> for several reasons. first, it is not well-written, and has a lot of unintended consequences. primarily, i oppose it because it is a very simplistic way of dealing with a very complex problem. i have been working on student assignment, but as a parent -- for many years, i put my kids through the process. i have talked to parents across the city as a candidate for public office. since i was elected to the board, the board has been the last two years working on a news to defend a policy. it is the most complex problem i have ever worked on in my personal or professional life. and i do not think that is the kind of thing that can be resolved by a voter checking a yes or no on the ballot box.
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>> recent census numbers show that families with small children have been leaving the city in record numbers because of people would argue that the current school assignment system has something to do with that. do you believe the current system is working? >> i do the the current system is working. we spend a lot of time and a lot of money, a lot of resources, redesigning the system, because we knew we had a problem. one of the things we try to address was balancing the needs of parents. there are parents in parts of the city that feel they do not have access to high performing schools. while we work on the schools across the city, we want to give everybody access to all schools. in addition, a lot of families said they wanted more predictability in the school assignments. i do think that the predictability issue is something that may frighten parents of young children. so we revised it and added a proximity component and a predictability component that i think as address those concerns while still giving parents
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access to high performing schools wherever they want them to be. >> prop h is merely a statement of policy. what you think that the actual practical effect if prop h passes? >> honestly, i do not think there's going to be much of a practical effect, because the school board has been very clear, and i am being very clear what the voters now, that this is the direction that we are going. that we have spent a lot of time, a lot of effort, going through data, talking to people, looking at what other district do, looking at our census data, having demographic projections, and we think, as we monitor the system going forward, that is flexible and we can make changes and respond to trends. but we think we're moving in the right direction. >> even proponents of this ballot measure and said we're going in the right direction. >> thank you so much. we hope this has been informative. for additional affirmation about this or other measures, visit the san francisco league of women voters website.
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early voting is available at city hall monday through friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. if you do not bode early, be sure to vote on november 8. thank you. ♪
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$40,000 of this will go to 20 existing businesses. it's this is like a dragon
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house. -- businesses like dragon house. [applause] others that have been identified. i want to thank ellen and debt been played -- that the little. that is right. al harris and others that have worked in the exocet ashcelsiorn group for so long so that we can make a difference. we want these grievance to make a ground level difference. that is why paying attention to everyone here. it is a struggle of a lot of our commercial corridors right now, so that is why the work we have been doing in mid-market, the experience we are bringing out there with the arts programs and business loans we want to do right here to help out as well. i also want to thank mary and
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flemings from family connections. thank you for being here. -- maryann flemings. i also want to thank beth rubenstein from out of sight. thank you. you are in our collaboration. you also know as well as we do before we do anything, we have to work with existing business in people already out here. that is why you have been such an instrumental part, because if we do things right it is because we listen first. they did not want us here to invest $50,000 in one shop that may not make a difference. we spread that out to everybody. everybody feels the city is paying attention. i think that is why we're doing it well here. i also want to think marcihank . the corporations out here guide
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us as to what we can do better. i know you've been out here with the community challenge grant doing all of the small business improvement stuff. we're just the beginning. $40,000 in the grants and for the businesses will help go along way. we're making our business mark with llamas cafmama's cafe. they have been successful in mid-market on clemens. and irving streets and all around. when you create these park? klets people come out and use the sidewalk and a more productive way. using our sidewalks in the most creative way, that is how we get more positive attention on to these areas. i am gl's cafe
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create a more exciting sidewalk in these areas. these are things we can do in all of our commercial corridors so the businesses cannot only sustain themselves, they can create local jobs to sustain all of our neighborhoods, and that is how we are creating my vision for the rest of the city. we have to work to revitalize every part of our neighborhood. that is how we work together, and i am one to continue doing that and bringing out the expertise we have at city hall. get them out to neighborhood out here. we will walk these corridors with each of the elected officials so they know we're working together, and we're going to keep city hall in communicating with every one of our neighbors. thank you very much. amy, think you for your great work out here, and thank you for everyone joining us together. -- thank you for your great work
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out here. >> thank you. gardner speaker iour next speaka gilete. it is through the mayor's office, the cities targeted effort to improve commercial districts, particularly in this more struggling area. the idea of the door front cleaning project, the beautification project is really just additional go on a lot of projects that have been done over the years, really exciting ones, including the good will tower, which you can see it. that was restoration that was a partnership between our office and the excelsior action group. >> hi, i am a member of excelsior active group's steering committee, co-chaired
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fort excelsior beautification. of the excelsior action group mission is to revitalize excelsior corridor. these funds, which support the local merchants, will go along way to enhancing the vitality and appearance of the excelsior corridor. we welcome the opportunity to partner with local merchants on behalf of the excelsior. with those of you -- for those of you not familiar, we are a community action group that was founded in 2002. one event we sponsor each year is that the excelsior music and arts festival. we celebrated our ninth anniversary last sunday, and we had a great festival. it was a great community event that celebrated diversity through music, art, and food. excelsior action groups to support local merchants. this past year excelsior action group completed 10 murals,
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partnering with local merchants and artists that were installed with lighting. it does not only beautified the corridor, but also serve to make it safe at night. we are also engaged in a community process to recondition the overpass near roll over 2mu. excelsior action group will continue to work together with our community to identify ways we can support local merchants, attract new businesses coming in beautify the corridor. we know this funding will help leverage other much-needed resources and support for the excelsior. we would also like to thinake this opportunity to thank supervisor avalos.
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we would be remiss in not acknowledging our all outgoing director, ellen googvenele. , who has demonstrated a real investment in making sure the project led by excelsior action group has the input of excelsior residence. we look forward to partnering with out of sight on the project, and we know this public space will benefit all. i would like to take this opportunity to introduce the new manager of excelsior action group, nicole. [applause] nicole is a san francisco native and a native of the excelsior district. she graduated from ucla with a degree in international development and in our mental systems. she has worked with multiple bay area's small businesses on environmental business development, as well as
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construction management. her dedication to the community where she grew up will be the heart of her upcoming effort with the excelsior action group, and thank you so very much. [laughter] [applause] [applause] >> next, we would hear from the owner of the business hosted the event, jong lo. >> hello, everyone. first of all, thank you to everyone for showing up. thank you for the mayor being here. it kills your action group are fantastic. dragon house has been in san francisco for over 15 years. we've been located in excelsior my fourth year. anall of these nice gardens basically put down by the excelsior action group. they are awesome. i am hoping to see them keeping the funding from the city, keep doing great things for the
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neighborhood. all the neighborhood people will keep the teenagers coming down here and keeping them out of the street, keeping them say. for the past four years i have seen this neighborhood changing dramatically. people are nicer. nighttime is much safer, and is much greener on every corner. i would like to see the excelsior action group doing the the great work and keep being funded. thank you for coming down every day. thank you. [applause] >> we have one more speaker from mama art cafe. the number one thing people said many years ago was we need a gathering place, at cafe, a place that people really want to come. it has become more and more of an opportunity for people to
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gather, and i think the parklet will really add to that. [applause] >> i have to tell you i am very nervous because the mayor is next to me, and i would like to tell you i am very proud to be the owner of the mama art cafe. i would also like to say thank you to beth for making the youth so eager to work to create the parklet. i also would like to say thank you to all of the businesses -- most of them i know. i really feel inspired to be part of the community of its ulcer. and i am very proud to continue to create businesses. i would also lik


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